You intrinsically know that your doctor-patient relationship impacts not only patient satisfaction but also the outcome of your treatment. If you’ve ever had a bad experience with a care provider, such as leaving with a sensation that you weren’t heard or that your issues weren’t addressed, you already know the sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach and the questions that ensue. Did I get the right diagnosis? Am I getting the right treatment? Can I trust my physician? While part of building a positive doctor-patient relationship is up to you, quite a bit of it falls directly on your physician’s shoulders. Here are things that impact your doctor-patient relationship, so you know what to look for when choosing a doctor.
1) Find a Practice that Sees a Limited Number of Patients
Previously, we covered what causes doctor burnout and what some of the consequences of doctor burnout are. One of the leading issues is little face-to-face time with patients, coupled with an overwhelming amount of administrative duties outside of patient care. When burnout ensues, physicians make more errors (increasing poor outcomes including deaths), refer patients out more, and the overall cost of care rises. Where a traditional practice may have thousands of patients, newer models, such as concierge medicine, limit the total number of patients seen in the practice and the number of patients seen in a day to somewhere around 20 percent of what a traditional physician sees. Therefore, one of the best things you can do is determine in advance how many patients a practitioner sees overall and then inquire about their scheduling habits prior to becoming a patient.
2) Watch for Signs of Attentiveness
During your initial visit with a physician, watch his or her mannerisms. Does your physician seem rushed or brisk? This could be a sign the physician is taking on too much or lacks bedside manner. Equally, body language can convey the physician is attentive as well. Most people can naturally tell when a person they’re communicating with is engaged. Perhaps they will sit down and set aside distractions, make eye contact, and nod or gesture as you speak. Attentive physicians spend time getting to know you by asking questions about your history, lifestyle, and what brought you in. All while giving you ample time to respond.
3) Give Your Doctor-Patient Relationship Time to Grow
Trust isn’t something most people offer automatically. It may take more than a few visits, especially if you’ve struggled to develop strong doctor-patient relationships in the past. Unless you see warning signs that something’s amiss, give the bond some time to grow.
4) Become a Member of Dedication Health
The Dedication Health team prioritizes building strong long-term doctor-patient relationships as part of our patient-focused care. Your personal doctor takes time to get to get to know you and develop a trusting doctor-patient relationship. As well as addressing your concerns and working together to create a custom plan that’ll help you feel your best. To get started with our practice, call our practice manager Christine at 847-986-6770 or contact us via our online form.